U.S. markets should stay open amid turmoil, says top securities regulator

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© Reuters. U.S. markets should stay open amid turmoil, says top securities regulator© Reuters. U.S. markets should stay open amid turmoil, says top securities regulator

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. markets should continue to stay open despite intense volatility, the head of the U.S. securities regulator said on Monday, quashing speculation within the industry that the government might seek a shutdown to stop a plunge in stock prices.

“Markets should continue to function through times like this,” Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Jay Clayton told CNBC in a phone interview, adding that the SEC was closely monitoring markets and was working with exchanges and market infrastructure providers to ensure they could continue to function.

U.S. stocks plunged on Monday morning on mounting fears about the coronavirus epidemic’s damage to the global economy, again triggering a circuit breaker which temporarily suspends trading. The S&P 500 index () has lost nearly $6 trillion since its record closing high in mid-February.

Clayton said markets had functioned well and had re-opened in an orderly manner following the triggering of circuit-breakers last week.

“Things have been functioning well in our markets over the past two weeks of a very volatile time,” he added.

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